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ASUG launches SAP consultant directory

SAP's largest user group, ASUG, today introduced a website to match organizations with the right SAP consultants or firms for their projects.

With SAP customers everywhere facing an SAP skills shortage, ASUG has launched an online directory to help companies...

find consultants with the right talent for their IT projects.

ASUG EDGE, created by SAP's largest user-group, allows SAP users to search roughly 400 individual consultants and firms by application, technology, ERP release or industry experience to find the right person for their project.

The directory will also provide anonymous reviews by companies that have used the consultants, as well as the option of contacting the reviewer directly through anonymous email facilitated by ASUG. ASUG members have reviewed a total of 120 consultant firms so far, according to ASUG CIO Craig Lathrop.

The directory, available today, is accessed through ASUG.com at a cost of $995 a year for ASUG members and partners, and $1,495 a year for non-members.

"You read a lot about how companies are finding it difficult to find the right SAP talent," ASUG CEO Steve Strout wrote in a statement. "Being able to leverage the firsthand insights of their peers means that SAP customers can make faster, more educated decisions when selecting a provider."

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SAP recently said it needs at least another 30,000 people with SAP talent to implement and manage its products, though it was vague about the specific skills most in demand. Consultants and analysts agree there is a serious shortage of people with Basis and NetWeaver skills, as well as a need for people with BI, MDM and HCM skills.

EDGE does not single out people with certain skills, Lathrop said. But the site should make it easier to find companies for niche projects, according to Strout. Those on the site are either ASUG member consultant firms or consultants that have been used by ASUG's members.

To guard against a slam session of consultants, ASUG won't post the worst reviews, Strout said. He doesn't want the site to become a forum for complaining rather than actually helping people make a business decision. The site will be moderated at ASUG.

"[We want to show] who actually had the most value to an organization," he said. "[It's] a vehicle that is useful and a tool that is useful for people to make business decisions."

Frustration among members trying to find SAP talent was not the only reason for the site. Getting the opinions of those who had used the consultants was also a major driver for its development. The only forum for that, Strout said, was walking the floor of tradeshows and conferences asking for feedback.

With EDGE, a company looking for someone with NetWeaver skills simply types the term into the search bar. ASUG provides a list of consultant firms, ranks them, and provides reviews, which include project descriptions, service evaluations and overall quality of work.

"It's an opportunity for people who have used the services to say, 'Here's what we liked, here's what we didn't like,' " Strout said. "The purpose of ASUG in general is to bring together parties of the ecosystem. It's for partners and consultants to display the skill sets they bring."

The tool has been available since January in beta form, but ASUG said that it couldn't provide a beta user for this story.

Vendors have expressed some concerns about the site, Strout said, wondering what will happen if all their consultants get good ratings, and they're in high demand.

Strout's answer?

"Have more of them," he said.

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